Abbey Road studios reopen for first time in more than 10 weeks

David Ellis
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The historic London studios responsible for some of the most famous recordings in pop and rock history, from the Beatles to Pink Floyd and Ed Sheeran, has announced it has reopened for business, following a 10 week closure.

Having shut for the first time in its near 90-year history back in March, Abbey Road studios in St John’s Wood today opened its doors, with social distancing measures in place, to conduct a virtual recording session with jazz star Melody Gardot – and an entire orchestra.

With the Baby I’m a Fool singer joining the session from Paris via video link, engineers and musicians worked in the famous studio in London, to begin work on Gardot’s forthcoming album.

“Knowing that we are the first session back at Abbey Road Studios after its re-opening is an absolute honour. I was told that until Covid-19 the studio had never been closed for business in almost 90 years of operation. Even during WWII it stayed open,” said Gardot of the session. “And the fact that we’re recording the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, helping get the musical community back on track in a way that is safe for all involved. It feels like we are touching history.”

Speaking exclusively to the Standard, the studio’s managing director Isabel Garvey said: “Throughout lockdown, clients and artists have been asking about when we can reopen our doors and let them back in the building. So, as soon as the government recommendations changed to allow those who can’t work from home to return to work, that was the opportunity to open the studio again.

“However, we have taken our time to put the appropriate health and safety measures in place to ensure that our clients and all our staff can work in the safest possible environment. That’s why we’ve held off opening the doors for recording in particular until today.”

With social distancing measures in place, the studio is now operating with half its usual staff, but Garvey said she was confident the studio would continue to produce world-class recordings.

“We look forward to welcoming as many musicians, artists and clients as possible to enable music production, recording, mixing and mastering again,” Garvey said. “We want to show that, even with social distancing and health and safety measures in place, making music remains a joyful experience and that Abbey Road brings creativity, magic and inspiration to the music production process.”

Abbey Road is perhaps most often associated with the Beatles, who recorded all 12 of their studio albums there.